Castillo de San Luis

Castillo de San Luis in Estepona old town  © Michelle Chaplow .
Castillo de San Luis in Estepona old town

Castillo de San Luis

There is a little left to see of the great castle which once stood at the heart of Estepona, and what remains is not now readily apparent, but it is possible to trace the ruins around the high ground. Its construction followed the seizing of the town in 1457 by Enrique IV. He also built new defensive towers along the coast, since, although they had been expelled from Estepona and their domination of the Peninsula was effectively over, the Arabs - mainly Berbers - were still perceived a problem. Pirate raids were not uncommon and if not wildly destructive, at least a great irritant.

Next to the market is Plaza Casa Cañada, where a small garden has been laid out beneath the Castle walls for visitors to rest among the flowers or drink from the fountain. One corner of the rectangular castle was here, another near the old town hall and another in Plaza de la Reloj. It occupied this high ground then with a view to the sea and all around. 

The remaining part of the castle that can be seen today is actually the western half of a additional double V-shaped bulwark (defensive wall) that was added infromt of the sea facing side of the original rectangular castle walls in the 16th century. Proabably a little before the time when King Filipe II ordered the building of  the forts and watchtowers along the coast in 1575. It was a strong construction that could support a line of sea facing cannons. Between the two walls were soldiers barracks and stoors. The rear wall supporting the cannons collapsed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and was rebuilt with extra strength to full height which is probablywhy it remains today. After the town had expanded way beyond the rectangular castle walls the land inside was sold off and the stone in the walls was plundered.

Houses were built backed on to the remaining walls and as the space between the double walls was filled with rubble, the top became there back gardens. The houses were demolished in 2014 and the 12m high rubble removed. It is hoped that in 2022 the inside of the remaining double bulwark castle walls will be open for visitors.

You can walk around the remaining section of castle walls. Walk down the little path in semi tropical gardens between the market and the castle wall, down the steps into Calle Castillo to view the other side of the castle wall.  This wall is actually a double wall fortification. you can return to where you stared by climbing the steps.

Look out for the Mercardo Villa de Estepona which was the Mercado de Abastos (indoor market) where a section of floor had been opened up to reveal foundations of a rectangular Moorish watchtower in the south east corner of a rectangular defensive construction which predates the castle. In Calle Villa oposite the entrance to the market can also be seen the octagonal foundations of a two storey Roman Mausoleum dated to 4th century AD.

The 'front' wall of the castle is now visible from Calle Castillo as a number of town houses that had been built infront of it were demolished in 2014. The wall here is Moorish at the lower part and upper probably date from the 16th century.

Whilst in this area of Plaza Agusto Suarez visit the 'Old Town Hall' which is now an archeology museum.  


Calle Castillo and Plaza Augusto Suarez